Fullerton : Viet Vet's Conviction in Assault Case Upheld

An appellate court in Santa Ana has upheld the 1984 assault conviction of a Vietnam veteran who claims that a post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from his war experiences caused him to attack a woman near her Pacific Coast College dormitory in Fullerton.

Jeffrey Jay Yoder, 36, of Fullerton, claimed that he attacked the woman Nov. 15, 1982, because she was of Asian descent and he believed himself back in Vietnam, where he had been in combat in 1968-69.

Yoder, now serving a five-year prison sentence, was the first person in the county to claim that he committed a crime because of a stress disorder resulting from Vietnam War experiences.

Yoder claimed in his appeal that there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty and pointed to expert testimony from defense psychologists and psychiatrists who unanimously agreed that he was insane at the time of the crime.

But Presiding Justice John K. Trotter, in a unanimous decision from the 4th District Court of Appeal, countered that the defense experts' opinions were based "exclusively on defendant's self-serving version of the facts."

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